US 20060122508 A1
A method and system for noninvasive face lifts and deep tissue tightening are disclosed. An exemplary method and treatment system are configured for the imaging, monitoring, and thermal injury to treat the SMAS region. In accordance with an exemplary embodiment, the exemplary method and system are configured for treating the SMAS region by first, imaging of the region of interest for localization of the treatment area and surrounding structures, second, delivery of ultrasound energy at a depth, distribution, timing, and energy level to achieve the desired therapeutic effect, and third to monitor the treatment area before, during, and after therapy to plan and assess the results and/or provide feedback.
1. An ultrasound treatment system configured for noninvasive face lifts and deep tissue tightening, said ultrasound treatment system comprising:
a control system for facilitating control of the ultrasound treatment system;
a display system for displaying an image of a SMAS layer within a region of interest, said display system coupled to said control system; and
a probe system configured for targeted delivery of ultrasound energy into said SMAS layer for destruction of tissue and to cause shrinkage of said SMAS layer.
2. The ultrasound treatment system according to
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13. A method for providing noninvasive face lifts and deep tissue tightening, said method comprising:
localizing of a SMAS-like muscular fascia layer within a region of interest;
targeting of delivery of ablative ultrasound energy to said SMAS-like muscular fascia layer; and
monitoring of results of said targeted delivery within said SMAS-like muscular fascia layer during and after said targeted delivery to continue planning of treatment.
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This Application claims priority to and benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/616,755, entitled “Method and System for Noninvasive Face Lifts and Deep Tissue Tightening”, and filed on Oct. 6, 2004.
The present invention relates to ultrasound therapy and imaging systems, and in particular to a method and system for noninvasive face lifts and deep tissue tightening.
Coarse sagging of the skin and facial musculature occurs gradually over time due to gravity and chronic changes in connective tissue generally associated with aging. Invasive surgical treatment to tighten such tissues is common, for example by facelift procedures. In these treatments for connective tissue sagging, a portion of the tissue is usually removed, and sutures or other fasteners are used to suspend the sagging tissue structures. On the face, the Superficial Muscular Aponeurosis System (SMAS) forms a continuous layer superficial to the muscles of facial expression and beneath the skin and subcutaneous fat. Conventional face lift operations involve suspension of the SMAS through such suture and fastener procedures.
No present procedures have been developed yet, which provide the combination of targeted, precise, local heating to a specified temperature region capable of inducing ablation (thermal injury) to underlying skin and subcutaneous fat. Attempts have included the use of radio frequency (RF) devices that have been used to produce heating and shrinkage of skin on the face with some limited success as a non-invasive alternative to surgical lifting procedures. However, RF is a dispersive form of energy deposition. RF energy is impossible to control precisely within the heated tissue volume and depth, because resistive heating of tissues by RF energy occurs along the entire path of electrical conduction through tissues. Another restriction of RF energy for non-invasive tightening of the SMAS is unwanted destruction of the overlying fat and skin layers. The electric impedance to RF within fat, overlying the suspensory connective structures intended for shrinking, leads to higher temperatures in the fat than in the target suspensory structures. Similarly, mid-infrared lasers and other light sources have been used to non-invasively heat and shrink connective tissues of the dermis, again with limited success. However, light is not capable of non-invasive treatment of SMAS because light does not penetrate deeply enough to produce local heating there. Below a depth of approximately 1 mm, light energy is multiply scattered and cannot be focused to achieve precise local heating.
A method and system for noninvasive face lifts and deep tissue tightening are provided. An exemplary method and treatment system are configured for the imaging, monitoring, and thermal injury to treat the SMAS region. In accordance with an exemplary embodiment, the exemplary method and system are configured for treating the SMAS region by first, imaging of the region of interest for localization of the treatment area and surrounding structures, second, delivery of ultrasound energy at a depth, distribution, timing, and energy level to achieve the desired therapeutic effect, and third to monitor the treatment area before, during, and after therapy to plan and assess the results and/or provide feedback.
In accordance with an exemplary embodiment, an exemplary treatment system comprises an imaging/therapy probe, a control system and display system. The imaging/therapy probe can comprise various probe and/or transducer configurations. For example, the probe can be configured for a combined dual-mode imaging/therapy transducer, coupled or co-housed imaging/therapy transducers, or simply a therapy probe and an imaging probe. The control system and display system can also comprise various configurations for controlling probe and system functionality, including for example a microprocessor with software and a plurality of input/output devices, a system for controlling electronic and/or mechanical scanning and/or multiplexing of transducers, a system for power delivery, systems for monitoring, systems for sensing the spatial position of the probe and/or transducers, and systems for handling user input and recording treatment results, among others.
In accordance with an exemplary embodiment, ultrasound imaging can be utilized for safety purposes, such as to avoid injuring vital structures such as the facial nerve (motor nerve), parotid gland, facial artery, and trigeminal nerve (for sensory functions) among others. For example, ultrasound imaging can be used to identify SMAS as the superficial layer well defined by echoes overlying the facial muscles. Such muscles can be readily seen and better identified by moving them, and their image may be further enhanced via signal and image processing.
In accordance with an exemplary embodiment, ultrasound therapy via focused ultrasound, an array of foci, a locus of foci, a line focus, and/or diffraction patterns from single element, multiple elements, annular array, one-, two-, or three-dimensional arrays, broadband transducers, and/or combinations thereof, with or without lenses, acoustic components, mechanical and/or electronic focusing are utilized to treat the SMAS region at fixed and/or variable depth or dynamically controllable depths and positions.
The subject matter of the invention is particularly pointed out in the concluding portion of the specification. The invention, however, both as to organization and method of operation, may best be understood by reference to the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawing figures, in which like parts may be referred to by like numerals:
The present invention may be described herein in terms of various functional components and processing steps. It should be appreciated that such components and steps may be realized by any number of hardware components configured to perform the specified functions. For example, the present invention may employ various medical treatment devices, visual imaging and display devices, input terminals and the like, which may carry out a variety of functions under the control of one or more control systems or other control devices. In addition, the present invention may be practiced in any number of medical contexts and that the exemplary embodiments relating to a method and system for noninvasive face lift and deep tissue tightening as described herein are merely indicative of exemplary applications for the invention. For example, the principles, features and methods discussed may be applied to any SMAS-like muscular fascia, such as platysma, temporal fascia, and/or occipital fascia, or any other medical application. Further, various aspects of the present invention may be suitably applied to other applications.
In accordance with various aspects of the present invention, a method and system for noninvasive face lifts and deep tissue tightening are provided. For example, in accordance with an exemplary embodiment, with reference to
In accordance with an exemplary embodiment, treatment system 100 is configured for treating the SMAS region by first, imaging of region of interest 106 for localization of the treatment area and surrounding structures, second, delivery of ultrasound energy at a depth, distribution, timing, and energy level to achieve the desired therapeutic effect, and third to monitor the treatment area before, during, and after therapy to plan and assess the results and/or provide feedback.
As to the treatment of the SMAS region, connective tissue can be permanently tightened by thermal treatment to temperatures about 60 degrees C. or higher. Upon ablating, collagen fibers shrink immediately by approximately 30% of their length. The shrunken fibers can produce tightening of the tissue, wherein the shrinkage should occur along the dominant direction of the collagen fibers. Throughout the body, collagen fibers are laid down in connective tissues along the lines of chronic stress (tension). On the aged face, the collagen fibers of the SMAS region are predominantly oriented along the lines of gravitational tension. Shrinkage of these fibers results in tightening of the SMAS in the direction desired for correction of laxity and sagging due to aging. The treatment comprises the ablation of specific regions of the SMAS region and similar suspensory connective tissues.
In addition, the SMAS region varies in depth and thickness at different locations, e.g., between 0.5 mm to 5 mm or more. On the face, important structures such as nerves, parotid gland, arteries and veins are present over, under or near the SMAS region. Tightening of the SMAS in certain locations, such as the preauricular region associated with sagging of the cheek to create jowls, the frontal region to associated with sagging brows, mandibular region associated with sagging neck, can be conducted. Treating through localized heating of regions of the SMAS or other suspensory subcutaneous connective tissue structures to temperatures of about 60-90° C., without significant damage to overlying or distal/underlying tissue, i.e., proximal tissue, as well as the precise delivery of therapeutic energy to SMAS regions, and obtaining feedback from the region of interest before, during, and after treatment can be suitably accomplished through treatment system 100.
To further illustrate an exemplary method and system 200, with reference to
Ultrasound imaging and providing of images 224 can facilitate safe targeting of the SMAS layer 216. For example, with reference to
In accordance with an exemplary embodiment, with reference to
The delivery of ultrasound energy 220 at a suitably depth, distribution, timing, and energy level is provided by probe 204 through controlled operation by control system 202 to achieve the desired therapeutic effect of thermal injury to treat SMAS region 216. During operation, probe 204 can also be mechanically and/or electronically scanned within tissue surface region 226 to treat an extended area. In addition, spatial control of a treatment depth 220 can be suitably adjusted in various ranges, such as between a wide range of approximately 0 to 15 mm, suitably fixed to a few discrete depths, with an adjustment limited to a fine range, e.g. approximately between 3 mm to 9 mm, and/or dynamically adjusted during treatment, to treat SMAS layer 216 that typically lies at a depth between approximately 5 mm to 7 mm. Before, during, and after the delivery of ultrasound energy to SMAS region 216, monitoring of the treatment area and surrounding structures can be provided to plan and assess the results and/or provide feedback to control system 202 and a system user.
For example, in accordance with an exemplary embodiment, with additional reference to
For example, in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, with additional reference to
In accordance with another exemplary embodiment, with reference to
An exemplary control system 202 and display system 208 may be configured in various manners for controlling probe and system functionality. With reference to
For example, for power sourcing components 302, control system 300 can comprise one or more direct current (DC) power supplies 303 configured to provide electrical energy for entire control system 300, including power required by a transducer electronic amplifier/driver 312. A DC current sense device 305 can also be provided to confirm the level of power going into amplifiers/drivers 312 for safety and monitoring purposes.
Amplifiers/drivers 312 can comprise multi-channel or single channel power amplifiers and/or drivers. In accordance with an exemplary embodiment for transducer array configurations, amplifiers/drivers 312 can also be configured with a beamformer to facilitate array focusing. An exemplary beamformer can be electrically excited by an oscillator/digitally controlled waveform synthesizer 310 with related switching logic.
The power sourcing components can also include various filtering configurations 314. For example, switchable harmonic filters and/or matching may be used at the output of amplifier/driver 312 to increase the drive efficiency and effectiveness. Power detection components 316 may also be included to confirm appropriate operation and calibration. For example, electric power and other energy detection components 316 may be used to monitor the amount of power going to an exemplary probe system.
Various sensing and monitoring components 304 may also be suitably implemented within control system 300. For example, in accordance with an exemplary embodiment, monitoring, sensing and interface control components 324 may be configured to operate with various motion detection systems implemented within transducer probe 204 to receive and process information such as acoustic or other spatial and temporal information from a region of interest. Sensing and monitoring components can also include various controls, interfacing and switches 309 and/or power detectors 316. Such sensing and monitoring components 304 can facilitate open-loop and/or closed-loop feedback systems within treatment system 200.
Cooling/coupling control systems 306 may be provided to remove waste heat from an exemplary probe 204, provide a controlled temperature at the superficial tissue interface and deeper into tissue, and/or provide acoustic coupling from transducer probe 204 to region-of-interest 206. Such cooling/coupling control systems 306 can also be configured to operate in both open-loop and/or closed-loop feedback arrangements with various coupling and feedback components.
Processing and control logic components 308 can comprise various system processors and digital control logic 307, such as one or more of microcontrollers, microprocessors, field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), computer boards, and associated components, including firmware and control software 326, which interfaces to user controls and interfacing circuits as well as input/output circuits and systems for communications, displays, interfacing, storage, documentation, and other useful functions. System software and firmware 326 controls all initialization, timing, level setting, monitoring, safety monitoring, and all other system functions required to accomplish user-defined treatment objectives. Further, various control switches 308 can also be suitably configured to control operation.
An exemplary transducer probe 204 can also be configured in various manners and comprise a number of reusable and/or disposable components and parts in various embodiments to facilitate its operation. For example, transducer probe 204 can be configured within any type of transducer probe housing or arrangement for facilitating the coupling of transducer to a tissue interface, with such housing comprising various shapes, contours and configurations. Transducer probe 204 can comprise any type of matching, such as for example, electric matching, which may be electrically switchable; multiplexer circuits and/or aperture/element selection circuits; and/or probe identification devices, to certify probe handle, electric matching, transducer usage history and calibration, such as one or more serial EEPROM (memories). Transducer probe 204 may also comprise cables and connectors; motion mechanisms, motion sensors and encoders; thermal monitoring sensors; and/or user control and status related switches, and indicators such as LEDs. For example, a motion mechanism in probe 204 may be used to controllably create multiple lesions, or sensing of probe motion itself may be used to controllably create multiple lesions and/or stop creation of lesions, e.g. for safety reasons if probe 204 is suddenly jerked or is dropped. In addition, an external motion encoder arm may be used to hold the probe during use, whereby the spatial position and attitude of probe 104 is sent to the control system to help controllably create lesions. Furthermore, other sensing functionality such as profilometers or other imaging modalities may be integrated into the probe in accordance with various exemplary embodiments. Moreover, the therapy contemplated herein can also be produced, for example, by transducers disclosed in U.S. application Ser. No. 10/944,499, filed on Sep. 16, 2004, entitled METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR ULTRASOUND TREATMENT WITH A MULTI-DIRECTIONAL TRANSDUCER and U.S. application Ser. No. 10/944,500, filed on Sep. 16, 2004, and entitled SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR VARIABLE DEPTH ULTRASOUND TREATMENT, both hereby incorporated by reference.
With reference to
Control interface 402 is configured for interfacing with control system 300 to facilitate control of transducer probe 400. Control interface components 402 can comprise multiplexer/aperture select 424, switchable electric matching networks 426, serial EEPROMs and/or other processing components and matching and probe usage information 430 and interface connectors 432.
Coupling components 406 can comprise various devices to facilitate coupling of transducer probe 400 to a region of interest. For example, coupling components 406 can comprise cooling and acoustic coupling system 420 configured for acoustic coupling of ultrasound energy and signals. Acoustic cooling/coupling system 420 with possible connections such as manifolds may be utilized to couple sound into the region-of-interest, control temperature at the interface and deeper into tissue, provide liquid-filled lens focusing, and/or to remove transducer waste heat. Coupling system 420 may facilitate such coupling through use of various coupling mediums, including air and other gases, water and other fluids, gels, solids, and/or any combination thereof, or any other medium that allows for signals to be transmitted between transducer active elements 412 and a region of interest. In addition to providing a coupling function, in accordance with an exemplary embodiment, coupling system 420 can also be configured for providing temperature control during the treatment application. For example, coupling system 420 can be configured for controlled cooling of an interface surface or region between transducer probe 400 and a region of interest and beyond by suitably controlling the temperature of the coupling medium. The suitable temperature for such coupling medium can be achieved in various manners, and utilize various feedback systems, such as thermocouples, thermistors or any other device or system configured for temperature measurement of a coupling medium. Such controlled cooling can be configured to further facilitate spatial and/or thermal energy control of transducer probe 400.
In accordance with an exemplary embodiment, with additional reference to
With continued reference to
Motion mechanism 410 can comprise manual operation, mechanical arrangements, or some combination thereof. For example, a motion mechanism 422 can be suitably controlled by control system 300, such as through the use of accelerometers, encoders or other position/orientation devices 416 to determine and enable movement and positions of transducer probe 400. Linear, rotational or variable movement can be facilitated, e.g., those depending on the treatment application and tissue contour surface.
Transducer 404 can comprise one or more transducers configured for treating of SMAS layers and targeted regions. Transducer 404 can also comprise one or more transduction elements and/or lenses 412. The transduction elements can comprise a piezoelectrically active material, such as lead zirconante titanate (PZT), or any other piezoelectrically active material, such as a piezoelectric ceramic, crystal, plastic, and/or composite materials, as well as lithium niobate, lead titanate, barium titanate, and/or lead metaniobate. In addition to, or instead of, a piezoelectrically active material, transducer 404 can comprise any other materials configured for generating radiation and/or acoustical energy. Transducer 404 can also comprise one or more matching layers configured along with the transduction element such as coupled to the piezoelectrically active material. Acoustic matching layers and/or damping may be employed as necessary to achieve the desired electroacoustic response.
In accordance with an exemplary embodiment, the thickness of the transduction element of transducer 404 can be configured to be uniform. That is, a transduction element 412 can be configured to have a thickness that is substantially the same throughout. In accordance with another exemplary embodiment, the thickness of a transduction element 412 can also be configured to be variable. For example, transduction element(s) 412 of transducer 404 can be configured to have a first thickness selected to provide a center operating frequency of approximately 2 kHz to 75 MHz, such as for imaging applications. Transduction element 412 can also be configured with a second thickness selected to provide a center operating frequency of approximately 2 to 400 MHz, and typically between 4 MHz and 15 MHz for therapy application. Transducer 404 can be configured as a single broadband transducer excited with at least two or more frequencies to provide an adequate output for generating a desired response. Transducer 404 can also be configured as two or more individual transducers, wherein each transducer comprises one or more transduction element. The thickness of the transduction elements can be configured to provide center-operating frequencies in a desired treatment range.
Transducer 404 may be composed of one or more individual transducers in any combination of focused, planar, or unfocused single-element, multi-element, or array transducers, including 1-D, 2-D, and annular arrays; linear, curvilinear, sector, or spherical arrays; spherically, cylindrically, and/or electronically focused, defocused, and/or lensed sources. For example, with reference to an exemplary embodiment depicted in
Transducer 500 can also be configured to provide focused treatment to one or more regions of interest using various frequencies. In order to provide focused treatment, transducer 500 can be configured with one or more variable depth devices to facilitate treatment. For example, transducer 500 may be configured with variable depth devices disclosed in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/944,500, entitled “System and Method for Variable Depth Ultrasound”, filed on Sep. 16, 2004, having at least one common inventor and a common Assignee as the present application, and incorporated herein by reference. In addition, transducer 500 can also be configured to treat one or more additional ROI 510 through the enabling of sub-harmonics or pulse-echo imaging, as disclosed in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/944,499, entitled “Method and System for Ultrasound Treatment with a Multi-directional Transducer”, filed on Sep. 16, 2004, having at least one common inventor and a common Assignee as the present application, and also incorporated herein by reference.
Moreover, any variety of mechanical lenses or variable focus lenses, e.g. liquid-filled lenses, may also be used to focus and or defocus the sound field. For example, with reference to exemplary embodiments depicted in
Transduction elements 606 may be configured to be concave, convex, and/or planar. For example, in an exemplary embodiment depicted in
In another exemplary embodiment, depicted in
With reference to
An exemplary transducer 404 can also be configured as an annular array to provide planar, focused and/or defocused acoustical energy. For example, with reference to
Transducer 404 can also be configured in other annular or non-array configurations for imaging/therapy functions. For example, with reference to
In accordance with various exemplary embodiments of the present invention, transducer 404 may be configured to provide one, two and/or three-dimensional treatment applications for focusing acoustic energy to one or more regions of interest. For example, as discussed above, transducer 404 can be suitably diced to form a one-dimensional array, e.g., transducer 602 comprising a single array of sub-transduction elements.
In accordance with another exemplary embodiment, transducer 404 may be suitably diced in two-dimensions to form a two-dimensional array. For example, with reference to
In accordance with another exemplary embodiment, transducer 404 may be suitably configured to provide three-dimensional treatment. For example, to provide—three dimensional treatment of a region of interest, with reference again to
In accordance with an exemplary embodiment, with reference again to
In accordance with other exemplary embodiments, rather than utilizing an adaptive algorithm, such as three-dimensional software, to provide three-dimensional imaging and/or temperature information, an exemplary three-dimensional system can comprise a single transducer 404 configured within a probe arrangement to operate from various rotational and/or translational positions relative to a target region.
To further illustrate the various structures for transducer 404, with reference to
Moreover, such transduction elements 700 may comprise a piezoelectrically active material, such as lead zirconante titanate (PZT), or any other piezoelectrically active material, such as a piezoelectric ceramic, crystal, plastic, and/or composite materials, as well as lithium niobate, lead titanate, barium titanate, and/or lead metaniobate. Transduction elements 700 may also comprise one or more matching layers configured along with the piezoelectrically active material. In addition to or instead of piezoelectrically active material, transduction elements 700 can comprise any other materials configured for generating radiation and/or acoustical energy. A means of transferring energy to and from the transducer to the region of interest is provided.
In accordance with another exemplary embodiment, with reference to
In accordance with another exemplary embodiment, with reference to
The present invention has been described above with reference to various exemplary embodiments. However, those skilled in the art will recognize that changes and modifications may be made to the exemplary embodiments without departing from the scope of the present invention. For example, the various operational steps, as well as the components for carrying out the operational steps, may be implemented in alternate ways depending upon the particular application or in consideration of any number of cost functions associated with the operation of the system, e.g., various of the steps may be deleted, modified, or combined with other steps. These and other changes or modifications are intended to be included within the scope of the present invention, as set forth in the following claims.